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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ESC Semi Final: Geta, Complice & O Julissi

posted by on April 22 at 9:32 AM

Fourth in line in our first semi-final is Moldova. They’re sending Geta Burlacu with A Century Of Love. Moldova tried to send a quality jazzy song, which is -to me- boring as hell, and not just for this review. Lucky for all of us, the song is styled to death. Judging by their outfits (or is it just me?) Geta and her friends seem to think they’re stereotypical Parisiens. An expression of Moldovan identity if ever I’ve seen one! I haven’t got a clue why most of her mates are on stage with her, since they don’t appear to be doing much. One of them seems to be rolling up a boll of yarn, probably to make Geta another one of her pretty hats, another is forever blowing bubbles and yet another one –in scarf and baret to fight off the cold in the studio- pretends to play the trumpet. And just when you thought it was getting weird, in come the ballet dancers. Fabulous stuff.

San Marino is taking part for the first time and they’re sending a rockband! Wahey! Well, a rockband in Eurovision standards anyway. Miodio sing “Complice”, yet another ballad, but with an edge. Again, in Eurovision terms. It’s haunting, or at least it tries to be, and it’s also so devoid of anything funny that there’s not much I can say about it. So I’ll keep myself happy with comparing how different the band looks in their hunky boyband-style promo photo as opposed to in their official video.

On to the masterpiece of the contest: Belgium sends Ishtar with “O Julissi” My home country, so don’t expect anything objective from me. It’s fantastic! It deserves to win! There. Moving on….

Belgium consistently ends in the lower half of the scoreboard -mostly totally justified- but sometimes we’re quite frankly robbed. Be sure to check out this clip: Nicole & Hugo reaching last place with “Baby Baby” back in 1973. Or how about Telex (the ones of Moskow Diskow) who took part in 1981 with the hilarious Euro-vision?! If those songs were to take part these days, they’d definitely make the top 10, no doubt about it.

The two regions of Belgium, Wallony and Flanders, take turns choosing a candidate for the contest. Traditionally, the Walloons are a lot better at it than the Flemish, though that’s not saying much. The Walloons have been known to send the occasional French Chanson and they’ve produced the only ever win for Belgium (Sandra Kim “J’aime La Vie” – ESC 1986). And what do the Flemish traditionally send? Ah, Europop (Xandee ESC 2004), Swedish Europop (Kate Ryan ESC 2006), or an epic song about peace with electric guitar-mock guns sung by a Flemish gay icon (Liliane St Pierre ESC 1987). Do the Flemish ever do well? Er… not in the past twenty years they don’t. And why not? Because the Balkan is better at drumming, the Swedes are better at Swedish Europop and we were 20 years too early for air-guitar-guns. So this year, Flanders went for a different style. After Belgium’s last decent result (Urban Trad: 2nd place in 2003, a Walloon entry), we’re trying to repeat that performance by sending something er…exactly the same in the same line:a folky song in a made up language (as if we don’t have enough languages already in Belgium: three for 10 million people). Will it pay off? That’s the question. I just heard that the lead singer will not be wearing her red boots in Belgrade, so I think we’re pretty much doomed (now if only she’d learn how to keep her head still while singing, I might be a tad more positive).

Next up… the one and only Azerbaijan, Slovenia en Norway.

RSS icon Comments


wow. i feel so bad for Belgium this year. That was dreadful!

I love Terry Wogan regarding Sonomi: "They had three languages to choose from, Dutch, Flemish and German, and they chose to make up their own."

Moldova was crap.

San Marino at least had pretty boys....

Posted by terry miller | April 22, 2008 10:09 AM

@1: how can you say that! It's a masterpiece! It's highbrow culture! It's a pair of red boots! It's ... it's... it's... well... it'll stick out... that's something, right. No?

Pfff... I say we should send Nicole and Hugo again. They still fit into their purple outfits, they're ready to go!

Posted by Griet | April 22, 2008 11:47 AM

Oh boy, Azerbaijan is next!

Moldova has a soft spot for me because in the first Eurovision contest I ever watched (2005, when I was studying in London) Moldova had some absolutely bizarre song about a grandmother and a drum, featuring a band who looked a little bit like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and an actual old lady. I think that was Moldova, anyway.

I like the idea of San Marino participating more than I like their song. San Marino is my favorite European microstate. Song's not anything special, though, which is a shame.

What did you think of Belgium last year, Griet? Was that Flemish or Walloon? This year is sort of charming, in an absurd way. I like the projections in the back. And at least it's upbeat and a bit odd.

Posted by Abby | April 22, 2008 11:54 AM

@3: Bonita Bate Dobe! I think that was the name of the Moldovan song in 2005. I loved the old lady.

Belgium last year was a Walloon entry, the first I can remember that wasn't in French but in English. The KMGs - Lovepower. It was a soft-disco-ish thingie, didn't sound too awful on CD (though not spectacular either) but the singing was so terribly offkey during the first notes that they blew it in those first five seconds.

The projections are the best thing about Ishtar this year and they can't take those to Belgrade with them! :-) Still, we could've sent worse. And I hated Urban Trad in 2003 until I saw it performed live, so me hating a song might be good for the result.

Posted by Griet | April 22, 2008 2:14 PM

@4: It was pretty memorable, I must say. Old woman, massive drum. Glad to know it was Moldova.

I remember some video involving Afro wigs on Youtube, but I could have been making it up. It was sort of funk-ish, wasn't it?

They can't take the projections with them? Lame! The projections really are the best part, it reminds me a bit of the Decemberists for some reason. Oh well.

Posted by Abby | April 22, 2008 3:07 PM

I too was in Europe (Sweden) in 2005 and that Moldovan song was one of the highlights of the competition for me. There was a lot of excitement in Sweden that year because even though Greece won the competition, the singer (Helena Pararizou) was part-Swedish. Good times.

Life has been kind of sucky lately and I have to say that reading Griet's Eurovision pieces always cheers me up. I have been fascinated with Eurovision for years & years -- there's nothing like being in one of the competing countries at Eurovision time, the saturation coverage reaches Super Bowl levels. Thank you, Griet & Line Out, for providing this little corner for American Eurovision obsessives!

Posted by Sue T. | April 23, 2008 2:27 PM

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